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Reach Web Site Goals by Understanding the Customer Decision Making Process (Part 1 of 2)
By: Developer Shed
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    Reach Web Site Goals by Understanding the Customer Decision Making Process (Part 1 of 2)
    by Bobette Kyle

    An important question to answer when creating or revising a
    Web site is "What are the goals of this site?" because the
    answer will drive your site design and marketing decisions.
    A good way to choose the correct goals is to think in terms
    of the customer decision making process.

    Customer Decision Making Process

    Not all visitors to a site have the same needs. Karon
    Thackston, copywriter and proprietor at, explains by breaking the customer
    decision making process (i.e. buying process) into at least
    four stages: Need/Want Recognition, Information Search,
    Evaluation, and Purchase.

    If a visitor has already made the decision to purchase a
    product or service, for example, she needs easy ordering
    options. If the customer is early in the decision making
    process, however, she needs more general information.

    Information or Sales?

    Dee Kreidel, owner of Dax Development Corporation, recommends identifying a site as
    either an information site (for early decision stages) or a
    sales site (for late decision stages), but not both:

    "Our experience with our clients demonstrates that most
    people will not shop at a site if they see it as an
    informational site because their state of mind/focus is
    different when they are there - they aren't necessarily
    looking to shop, they are wanting information."

    One way to keep sales and information content separate is to
    set up a "hub and spoke" system of Web sites.

    Putting it Together with a Hub and Spoke System

    James Maduk developed and runs his own "hub and spoke"
    system of Web sites. He uses a two step process to guide
    potential customers from his informational "hub",, to one or more of his 55+ sales "spokes"
    (summarized here on the James Maduk hub site).

    "The purpose of my main site (hub) is not
    to sell. Rather its to 'buy'," James explains. "I want to
    'buy' my visitor's email address."

    Step one in his sales process originates from the hub. James
    does daily online events for free, radio broadcasts, live
    webcasts, gives away free ebooks, asks for newsletter
    subscriptions, etc. for the express purpose of collecting a
    new visitor's email address and educating them.

    "I want to earn the right to sell something to them. I want
    to earn their trust and rapport." By providing an email
    address, potential buyers open the door for James to do just

    James helps a visitor through the decision making process by
    initiating step two of his sales process - an autoresponder
    series - after she has opted in with an email address. Each
    email, one to three a week, includes a short tip and directs
    readers to one of James' sales pages or his small business
    internet marketing "member's only" site.

    Attract the Right Visitors

    By understanding your site visitors' decision making process
    and providing them with the right information, you can
    convert more visitors to purchase. Attracting more of the
    *right* visitors can improve conversions as well.

    In Part 2, "Reach Your Web Site Marketing Goals: Profit By
    Attracting the Right Visitors" , I
    will take a look at some tips for attracting the right
    customers to your site and ideas for profiting through
    information sites.

    About the Author

    Bobette Kyle draws upon 10+ years of Marketing/Executive
    experience, Marketing MBA, and online marketing research in
    her writing.

    Her book, "How Much for Just the Spider? Strategic Web Site
    Marketing for Small-Budget Businesses", shows how to better
    find, target, and attract Web customers.
    Read about it at -
    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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